Attorney general’s investigation into opioid marketing and sale falls in line with Burns’ call for lawsuit against ‘Big Pharma’

EBENSBURG, June 15 – Encouraged by news that Pennsylvania’s Attorney General has joined a consortium of state top prosecutors investigating drug manufacturers’ role in the opioid crisis, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, is hopeful the findings will spur the lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that he called for earlier this year.

Burns said today’s announcement that Attorney General Josh Shapiro is among those investigating possible unlawful practices in the marketing and sale of opioids falls directly in line with letters Burns sent to Shapiro and Gov. Tom Wolf in February.

“I urge you to file a lawsuit against any and all pharmaceutical companies responsible for this crisis because of their negligence in informing consumers of the dangers of these types of drugs and their ruthless promotion of their use,” Burns wrote. “’Big Pharma’ is lining its pockets and the wallets of doctors who prescribe these medications, while the number of people addicted and affected in the commonwealth continues to rise.”

Regarding today’s news, Burns said it’s clear that drug manufacturers’ role and potential legal culpability in the opioid plague have gotten the attention of Shapiro, his former Democratic colleague in the House of Representatives.

“I commend the attorney general for making this bold move – and if the evidence leads where I think it will, I encourage Mr. Shapiro to file the type of lawsuit that I have requested,” Burns said. “We cannot continue to sit idly by and let these companies profit greatly from the pain, suffering and death of others. They must be held accountable.”

Just last week, Burns introduced H.B. 1501, which would require drug overdose survivors to seek addiction treatment within 30 days, as a means to prevent repeat overdoses. Burns proposes to use money received from the lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies to pay for this required addiction treatment.